Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yes, I write Perfect Match Monday too!!

So, if you're reading my blog you very well may be reading my Perfect Match Monday stories on the ABC Basset rescue Facebook page. If you're not, you should like the page and check out the stories every week. This is how it all started.

One day last year, I saw on the Daphneyland Facebook page that they were posting the "dog of the day". I had been doing adoption follow-ups for ABC for awhile and it sort of just hit me. Why don't I write a story weekly on an adoption and how it's going? A nice "happy ending story". It was great for me to know what was going on with an ABC Alumni, but there are stories that were really worth sharing. No…I did NOT steal the idea from Daphneyland, but they inspired me to share what I was learning with everyone. For that, I thank them very much. (ha ha)

I asked John if he thought it was a good idea. He said it was, but was concerned that I wouldn't have enough stories to fill up 52 weeks. It was a concern. I understood his scepticism, but I wanted to at the very least...try. He then asked me what I was going to call it and I had no idea. Then John said, "what about calling it Perfect Match Monday?". I loved it. It was similar to what I usually called Mondays "Mismatch Mondays" since I wear mismatched socks every Monday. socks don't match today, but I do it on purpose on Mondays.

Jeb PMM on 8/12/13

I asked Shelly and the ABC board if I could do it. They said that I could and that is how Perfect Match Monday was born.

During December, I was asked by Shelly to follow-up on "The Texas 5" basset hounds to write a blog for the end of the year. It was the one year anniversary of their arrival to NY and each one ended up having amazing adoptions stories. This was the perfect opportunity to test out the Perfect Match Monday on the Facebook page. I took one of the bassets from the blog, Austin, and turned the story into a Perfect Match post. I needed a "hook" at the end of the story and decided to go with "For that, we think this is a Perfect Match". I've ended every story since then with that phrase because there really isn't any other way to finish these stories better. Austin's story got almost 400 'likes', 38 people commented on it and it got 24 'shares'. I was amazed at the response and it encouraged me to continue to work hard to make the stories happen.

Now, let me tell you that coming up with stories isn't easy. There have been weeks that I didn't have a story until an hour before I posted it. There have been weeks where I put in my own basset's stories and/or another ABC volunteer's adoption story in to fill in the gaps of not having a story planned for that week. Sometimes people don't respond to my emails right away or I don't have enough information to write a good story. I may have occasionally thought about making a story up, but luckily I haven't really had to yet. I also try my best to get each adopters approval before I post a story and this has become a challenge at times as well.
I want to admit that I DO pick and choose the stories that I post. Not every follow-up exchange is enough to write a story on. Some adopters have a lot to say about their bassets and gush and send 10 different pictures. Others tell me "He/She is great. Thanks for rescuing him/her". How can I write a story from that? I've also asked our volunteer group for their adoption stories with very limited success. I understand…people are busy, but if you don't give me any information you can't expect me to write a story. I am not a miracle worker.
Remus Future PMM
I've also done extra work and found the dogs foster parents to question them for further information on a specific dog. I've gotten help from other rescues where bassets have travelled from and gotten more information. I also do research in our doggie database for each story that I write. What I'm saying is, I put a lot of time, energy and love into each post. I hope that it comes through with each story that I've written.

More or less I try to keep the stories in the same format from week to week, but there have been weeks where an adopter sends me a better story then I could write. I have posted that story word for word as my PMM. I've co-written a few stories as well. I forced John to write a couple stories when I was too sick to even think about Perfect Match. The "show" must go on.

While I was at the GABR waddle in IL this year I didn't have a story ahead of time and didn't post one until Tuesday. I thought people were going to revolt because it was late. I was so tired from the drive back home that it just wasn't going to happen. I was more willing to hold off writing it then posting a story that I wasn't 100% happy with. I did feel bad, but it had to be done.

It seems over the months I've gained a pretty big following. I never imagined that Perfect Match Monday would be so popular and gain so much of a following. I really love doing it, even if I struggle from time to time with a story. I have people comment every week that they love the stories and they look forward to them every week. I read every comment and keep track of the 'likes' and shares every week as well. It's nice to have adopters say "I read that every week and would love for my story to be included". I think at this point people respond to follow-ups faster hoping I will use their story.

At one point someone suggested that I put together a book of all of the stories to sell. I was flattered. I was excited, but who would buy it? There would probably only be 52 people (a little less than that because a couple adopters have had two stories of their dogs posted) who would want it. The 52 people with PMM stories included. Maybe in several years it will be a better idea to put something together, but we will have to see if people continue to come back to read these stories.

A month ago, I came up with the idea of a PMM calendar. I took a story from each month and created a calendar from scratch to have printed. It was a more manageable project than a book. John was able to get a printer to donate the printing and we can sell the calendars in the Slobber Shoppe with all the proceeds to go to ABC. I felt bad not every story could make it to the calendar, but I did my best to pick the most popular ones to include. I am waiting for a hard copy sample right now and hopefully I will have them in to be sold in the Slobber Shoppe next week.

Sneak preview of the PMM Calendar

Through this year of PMM, I have learned a lot. I have become attached to every basset that I have written about. I have made friends with every adopter that I have talked with. I don't think that I would be writing this blog right now without first having written PMM every month. It was really the beginning of me realizing how much I missed writing. I really believe the key to writing well is writing what you know about, what you care about and I do that writing Perfect Match Mondays.

Only 7 more stories to go to finish out the year….

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